A dream doesn't become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination and hard work.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Lawyer wants Nairobi Senator Gedion Mbuvi probed over Sh16m fraud case

 Nairobi senator Simeon Mbuvi
Nairobi Senator Gedion Mbuvi

Sunday, March 30th 2014

Kenya: The war of words between Nairobi Senator Gedion Mbuvi alias Sonko and a Mombasa advocate escalated on Sunday with the lawyer calling for the politician to be investigated over a Sh16 million fraud case.
Lucy Momanyi told The Standard on Sunday that police conducted a shoddy investigation that, allegedly let Mbuvi of the hook, a claim the senator denies insisting that although he recorded a statement with police in the mid-2010 matter, he was cleared by investigators and therefore has no connection with the man who was eventually charged with swindling Sh16 million from a German investor in an alleged false land sale.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Day Raila Odinga wowed Kikuyu worshippers at a US church



When a Facebook flier announcing that former Prime Minister Raila Odinga would attend a service at St Stephens Church in Lowell, Massachusetts was circulated early last week, many people who saw it were piqued.
“When I saw the post on Facebook, I doubted, ‘Agwambo at St Stephens?, that to me was not for real,” said Mr Muthui Mwangi, a Kenyan living in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.
Mr Mwangi doubted because the area is mainly populated by members of the Kikuyu community, who attend St Stephens Church.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Why is social work being scapegoated?

Students listening a lecturer

The government commissioned two reviews of social work education, but if there is a problem it is the over-bureaucratised, under-resourced and managerialist nature of many departments

Lately it’s not just social work that’s been under attack, but also specifically social work education. Photograph: AlamyI was recently involved in this year's round of interviewing candidates for one of the social work courses at my university. It's a rigorous process involving a written test and individual and group interviews that stretches over a day. Applicants now have to meet high intellectual standards to get through this selection, but I am always especially impressed by their emotional intelligence and maturity.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Sh4bn over-age cars set to be destroyed

Hundreds of imported cars await to be cleared at a local Clearing Freight Station (CFS) in Mombasa after being off-loaded from a ship at the port of Mombasa. More than 2,000 cars worth over Sh4 billion are set to be be destroyed because they were more than eight years old when they were imported. PHOTO/FILE


Hundreds of imported cars await to be cleared at a local Clearing Freight Station (CFS) in Mombasa after being off-loaded from a ship at the port of Mombasa. More than 2,000 cars worth over Sh4 billion are set to be be destroyed because they were more than eight years old when they were imported. 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

We have a war on our hands; it must be fought with everything we have

GSU officers at the scene of the Joy in Christ Church, Likoni, where the attackers killed two people on the spot and injured eight others in this picture taken on 23 March 2014. PHOTO: Laban Walloga/NATION  
By Macharia Gaitho
Once again, we have to confront the threat of terrorism in our midst. Officials want to put a soft spin on the dastardly Sunday morning attack on a Mombasa church, but nobody can convince me that gunmen raiding a service and indiscriminately mowing down worshippers could be an act of “ordinary” crime.
Whether it be to the scale of major incidents like the 1980 Norfolk Hotel bombing, the 1998 US embassy suicide bomb, the 2002 Paradise Hotel attack, and the Westgate shopping Mall assault last year; or the numerous grenade and gun attacks in Nairobi, Mombasa, Garissa, Mandera, Wajir and other places, the fact is that we have become a soft target for terrorists out to disturb our easygoing way of life.

Monday, 24 March 2014

High land prices a barrier to road projects, says ministry

A section of the Thika Super Highway. It is becoming increasingly expensive to make compensation for land, according to infrastructure principal secretary in the Ministry of Roads and Infrastructure John Mosonik. PHOTO/FILEBy Nation Correspondent
A section of the Thika Super Highway. It is becoming increasingly expensive to make compensation for land, according to infrastructure principal secretary in the Ministry of Roads and Infrastructure John Mosonik. PHOTO/FILE  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Power struggle delays title deeds

Cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu in jovial moods with governors Isaac Ruto [Bomett county],William Kabogo [Kiambu] and chairman lands commission Mr. Mohamed Swazuri at the closing ceremony of the meeting between the governors and  lands commission officers at Flamingo beach hotel in this picture taken on 19 July 2013.By PATRICK MAYOYO, By John Njiru
Cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu in jovial moods with governors Isaac Ruto [Bomett county],William Kabogo [Kiambu] and chairman lands commission Mr. Mohamed Swazuri at the closing ceremony of the meeting between the governors and lands commission officers at Flamingo beach hotel in this picture taken on 19 July 2013. Land transactions are grinding to a halt because of the feuding between Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu and National Land Commission chairman Mohamed Swazuri. PHOTO/FILE/photo Laban Walloga. 

Widow Lucy Nyambura says she lost everything after her husband’s mysterious death

Lucy Nyambura who after the untimely death of

her husband found herself homeless when her

in-laws kicked her out of her own house.

Monday, March 24th 2014 at 22:40 GMT 
By ERIC WAINAINA KIAMBU, KENYA: The death of a spouse is often painful. But when your husband’s body is released to the very people suspected to have had a hand in his mysterious death, and then you find your house locked - in fact, welded - then you begin on a long, dark road to try and wrap your brain around what is taking place. That is what happened to 23-year-old Lucy Nyambura when her husband, Gabriel Ngan’ga, 30, died in controversial circumstances. Even before she could absorb the shock and settle down to mourn her beloved, Nyambura found herself homeless. Her home in Ikinu, Githunguri, was locked with three padlocks and the metal door welded. Ng’ang’a died on March 16, and initial reports indicated that he had committed suicide by hanging himself on a tree. At the time, Nyambura was visiting her parents in Molo, Nakuru. When Nyambura, who is six months pregnant, came home after receiving the distressing news, she spent the night at her sister’s house, because she could not access the locked house. She was told the area assistant chief had locked it.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Gangsters’ resort city where robbers ‘work beside police’

It was just after lunch, heading to 2 pm, and Steve Biko Wafula, who styles himself on Twitter as @SokoAnalyst, was going for a family engagement in Buru Buru Estate.
At the City Stadium round-about, he was caught up in traffic and decided to roll down the windows of his Mercedes Benz.

Fresh fight over Joseph Kanyotu, Kenyas' ex-spy chief’s wealth


Sovereign Suites, a resort in Tigoni, Kiambu county. 

One of the most expensive assets of former spy chief Joseph Kanyotu is at the centre of a fresh legal dispute over its alleged sale to a private company for Sh775 million.

The late spy chief’s two widows are in court over the ownership of a property that the first wife had sold to a third party, Westlands Residential Resort Ltd.

Mr Kanyotu’s first wife, Ms Mary Wanjiku, was earlier accused of altering the shareholding of Kawakanja Ltd — which owns the property that houses Sovereign Suites, an exclusive resort in Tigoni, Kiambu County —  and attempting to sell the palatial property to Westlands Residential Resort Ltd.

Her husband owned 999 shares in Kawakanja and one share was held by Tropical Registrars, but Ms Wanjiku is alleged to have increased the share holding of the company from 1,000 to 10,000 shares that she allocated to herself and her children.

But the court cancelled the changes and ordered that the original shareholding where Mr Kanyotu held the majority shares remain intact from February 13, 2008 when he died.

When the sale hit a snag, Westlands Residential Resort’s managing director Stanley Kinyanjui went to court seeking an injunction restraining the administrators from selling, leasing, mortgaging or transferring the property to third parties.

However, Mr Kanyotu’s second wife, Ms Jane Gathoni Muraya and a family member, Ms Margaret Nyakinyua Murigu — who are co-administrators of the Sh15 billion estate alongside Ms Wanjiku, stopped the application to compel the administrators to transfer the property to the company.

Court records show that Westlands Residential Resort entered into an agreement with Kawakanja Ltd to deposit Sh100 million and pay the balance of Sh675 million within 14 days after registration of the transfer of the prime property.

But Ms Gathoni objected to the agreement and the payment of the deposit on the basis that the property was the subject of a succession suit. Separately, the Kanyotu family is entangled in a protracted legal battle before Justice Luka Kimaru for the control of the multi-billion estate.

Ms Gathoni stated that she had made an application seeking the court’s approval of the sale to offset accrued estate debts.

Ms Gathoni told Justice Aggrey Muchelule through lawyer Judy Thongori that although she was not opposed to the sale of the property, such a transaction should be supervised by the court to protect the interest of all the beneficiaries.

However, Ms Wanjiku through her lawyer Nyiha Mukoma, and Kawakanja Ltd advocates Odhiambo Adala and Steve Mwenesi, urged the judge to strike out the suit on grounds that the property was agricultural land subject to the Land Control Act. She said the transaction had not received the consent of the Land Control Board.

Ms Wanjiku further argued that the sale agreement between Kawakanja Ltd and Westlands Residential Resort was undated and, therefore, void.

Further, she claimed the purported buyer had not deposited Sh100 million and had not paid the stamp duty as required under the provisions of Stamp Duty Act and could not, therefore, be admissible in court.

But Westlands Residential Resort lawyer Nelson Havi defended the transaction as having the blessings of the interim administrators and the succession court following the consent order signed by the parties.

Justice Muchelule in his ruling said the consent order had not directed that the property be sold to Westlands Residential Resort but the court had generally allowed the administrators to sell the property.

“The joint interim administrators may all have been in court on the day of the consent order but that is not the same as saying they all agreed to sell the property to Westlands Residential Resort,” ruled Justice Muchelule.

On the stamp duty, the judge said the court “cannot be used by parties who seek to avoid the payment of duty”.

He warned that a party seeking to use any unstamped instrument must demonstrate to the court that the omission to stamp the agreement was not a ploy to evade payment of duty or to defraud the government.

“Having found that the plaintiff (Westlands Residential Resort) has not demonstrated any intention to have the agreement stamped, the same cannot be used in evidence in this suit,” said the judge.

He consequently struck out the suit on grounds that the agreement was void for lack of stamp duty and consent of the Land Control Board.

Aggrieved by the High Court decision, Westlands Residential Resort moved to the appellate court where a three judge bench ordered the dispute to be heard afresh in the Environmental Court but on condition that the company deposits Sh100 million.

Appeal judges John Mwera, Mohammed Warsame and Gatembu Kairu, while setting aside the lower court’s findings, observed that the contract for sale of the property appeared to have been deliberately frustrated by the estate administrators because of their wrangles.

Mr Kanyotu, Kenya’s longest serving intelligence chief for 27 years, had until his retirement built an empire with extensive interests in hotels, banking, mining, insurance, real estate, aviation and large-scale farming.

Fact Box 

Mr Kanyotu partnered with Goldenberg architect Kamlesh Pattni in at least two companies, Exchange Bank and Goldenberg International, and was easily one of Kenya’s wealthiest men.

Mr Kanyotu’s properties include Half Moon, Full Moon and Cloud Limited. He also held  substantial shares in Barclays Bank, Sameer Group, Kenindia Assurance, Kentmere (1986) Ltd, Middle East Bank, Kenya Tea Development Agency, Kenya Melamine Manufacturers, Collindale Security and Collindale Limited.

He is as a shareholder of Kangaita Coffee Estate, Acacia Court, Acacia Renovators, Pine Court, Sonara Kwakanja Ltd, Shylocks Ltd and Metropolitan Health.

In addition, he owned land and buildings in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu, Gilgil, South Nyanza, Kirinyaga and Nyandarua. In Kirinyaga, his ancestral home, he is listed as having acquired 37 parcels of prime land.

How shady security agents and cops steal millions in cash-in-transit business

Friday, March 21st 2014; By HUDSONGUMBIHI hunguku@standardmedia.co.ke
The Cash-in-Transit (CIT) business has been turned into a gold mine by unscrupulous police officers working in cahoots with crooked security firm employees, The Nairobian can reveal. In collusion with employees of security firms engaged in the physical transfer of bank notes and coins, the officers, who have grown extremely rich and influential, siphon huge sums of money meant for the government. Shocking evidence The officers together with their collaborators allegedly exploit loopholes and regulation lapses to rip-off the state, which gets a paltry fraction of the revenue generated from CIT services.

Where is former first lady Lucy Kibaki?

Former first lady Lucy Kibaki

March 21st 2014
By Hudson Gumbihi NAIROBI, KENYA: After gracefully retiring, former President Kibaki has kept a relatively busy schedule unlike his wife Lucy – the former first lady – when in her true abrasive element. The last public official function Lucy attended was on August 27, 2010 during the promulgation of the Constitution at Uhuru Park. The event was attended by both local and foreign dignitaries who graced the historic occasion, which provided the Kibaki family the rare opportunity of leading the nation in ushering in a new set of laws. Since then, nothing much has been heard about Lucy, known for being outspoken on family and national issues. Her close family, relatives and friends have maintained silence leaving public guessing.

Abdukadir Mohammed Abdukadir, alias Ikrima: The man who planned Westgate Mall attack

Terrified people run away from Westgate  Mall last September
Terrified people run away from Westgate Mall last September

Saturday, March 22nd 2014 
By NYAMBEGA GISESA Nairobi, Kenya: The hunt for Kenya’s most wanted terrorist, Abdukadir Mohammed Abdukadir, alias Ikrima, has gone a notch higher with the US government placing a $9 million (Sh779.4 million) bounty on his head alongside two other men. Ikrima is being sought alongside the two who have been identified as Jafar and Yasin Kilwe. Both are said to be based in Somalia and responsible for terror activities in the East African region. The bounty was announced on Thursday in a statement from the US State Department. The American government said it was authorising “rewards of up to $3 million (Sh259.95 million) each for information leading to the arrest of Abdukadir Mohammed Abdukadir alias Ikrima, Jafar and Yasin Kilwe”.

Obsessed with power; Raila building Ksh1 billion ‘statehouse’ in Kisumu

STORM: Raila building Ksh1 billion ‘statehouse’ in Kisumu

Better late than never!

Luo Nyanza supremo Raila Odinga has joined the ranks of drug lords and self-serving African despots known for worldly grandeur and excessive opulence. The former yo-yo man in the Kibaki administration is erecting a Ksh.1 billion mini-statehouse in Kisumu.

The 70-roomed house has 10 bedrooms, 6 master bedrooms (Raila’s rooms), 17 toilets and a drive-way which starts at the gate and ends at the entrance of at least 4 Tinga’s master rooms.

The home which has been secretly built is said to have benefited from the kazi kwa vijana funds and Maize Scandal.

At a time when an average Raila supporter, whether in Kisumu or Kibera, cannot afford three meals a day, the Luo ‘god’ is building a grand edifice which tells both the story of the man as the worst political  fraud ever to grace Kenya’s political landscape and the ease with which Raila has duped his tribe, the Luo community, to oppose governments which Raila has been one of the biggest and longest beneficiaries.

For a man who has been the face of opposition politics in a country which, for so long, opposition meant a date with destiny to be that rich, in so short a time,  and openly show it, remains the a twist in a saga that shall surely evolve. So shocked are Luo MPs and other local leaders that a meeting has been called to discuss Raila.

In the same acreage of land – six acres –  that Raila has built this personal amusement museum, another Luo, Prof Bethwel Ogot, donated his own land to built what today is Odera Akang’o Campus.

In the same Nyanza region, former Kisii point-man Simeon Nyachae built what today is Kisii University. A lot has been said of the greed and selfishness of the Odinga family but this new Raila home dwarfs it all.

Raila was PM for 5 years yet not even a health centre in Nyanza rests his name. Because of this, other Nyanza politicians keen to develop the region has either chosen to ‘defy’ Raila’s directive to ‘go slow’ with development or, in the case of Nairobi governor Dr Evans Kidero, openly differed with the owner of Luo poverty – Raila Odinga.

Raila’s development record, when the futre shall extrapolate, will be so meagre that one sees a time when Luos shall forcibly loot this Raila palace. That it was built when Raila was top in government only leads to one conclusion – he embezzled!

Where he could, he took advantage and amassed excessive personal fortune, like what has infamously been termed the Kisumu molasses.

7,000 fraud cases involving Lands officials ‘in court’

Nasir Manji with documents of a  disputed property at the Press conference addressed by  Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu in Nairobi’s Ardhi House.  [PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE/ STANDARD]
Nasir Manji with documents of a disputed property
at the Press conference addressed by Lands Cabinet
Secretary Charity Ngilu in Nairobi’s Ardhi House.
March 21st 2014
By GEOFFREY MOSOKU Kenya: Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu has vowed to dismantle the cartels at her ministry, which she says were responsible for forgery of land documents that have aided in de frauding Kenyans. Ngilu disclosed that there were over 7,000 cases in court where ministry officials have colluded to aide fraudsters get court nods over ownership. “This is something we are not going to condone and we will root out these people who are not only out to taint the image of the ministry but also the government,” she said. Ngilu, who was addressing a news conference at her Ardhi House office, was accompanied by an Asian family that is locked in a legal tussle with a company over a multi-million plot in Nairobi’s Parklands area.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Every day is party time in government offices

For slightly over 12 months since January 2012, I served as the Legal Advisor to the Prime Minister. It was a position that placed me at the highest levels of the Civil Service, with a pay grade of Job Group “U”, otherwise known as “PS level”.
What I learnt and observed about government in that short period of time makes me conclude that the President’s attempt at bringing down the wage bill by taking a 20 per cent pay cut, and enforcing the same across the board, is incredibly naive.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Shame of vehicles rotting in yards

Some of the high end Mercedes Benz vehicles owned by the government parked at the Milimani court. Though they only need minor repairs, many of the vehicles  have been discarded and are rusting away. PHOTO | DENISH OCHIENGBy GRIFFINS OMWENGA: MARCH 2014

Some of the high end Mercedes Benz vehicles owned by the government parked at the Milimani court. Though they only need minor repairs, many of the vehicles have been discarded and are rusting away. PHOTO | DENISH OCHIENG  NATION MEDIA GROUP
Hundreds of government vehicles that need just minor repairs are rusting away in public parking yards even as the State mounts campaigns to reduce wastage of resources.
The vehicles, some lying at a park yard at the entrance to President Kenyatta’s Harambee House office, could go to complete waste after the government adopted a new strategy of leasing vehicles.

Ntimama defection meeting called off

Mr William ole Ntimama. Mr Ntimama was on Tuesday to lead a group of Narok elders into ditching the opposition party and joining TNA at State House, Nairobi. PHOTO/FILEMr William ole Ntimama. Mr Ntimama was on Tuesday to lead a group of Narok elders into ditching the opposition party and joining TNA at State House, Nairobi. 
ODM leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday criticised Mr William ole Ntimama’s planned defection to The National Alliance (TNA), saying it was an archaic practice which did not fit in the current political set-up.
Mr Ntimama was on Tuesday to lead a group of Narok elders into ditching the opposition party and joining TNA at State House, Nairobi.

Nairobi residents to pay Sh100 for garbage disposal

 Nairobi residents will benefit from new charges for waste disposal as the county moves to implement the finance bill on solid waste management.
According to Finance Bill 2013, domestic waste disposal will attract a fee of Sh100 while commercial premises and institutions will part with Sh300 for the service.
The county is now set to roll out a campaign to subscribe clients to the service after acquiring new garbage collection trucks.

Ntimama under fire over planned State House visit

ODM officials from Narok County have condemned former cabinet minister William ole Ntimama’s planned defection to TNA, saying it was embarrassing to the party and the Maasai community.
The officials said Mr Ntimama's defection to theODM officials from Narok County have disowned former cabinet minister William ole Ntimama’s planned defection to TNA President Uhuru Kenyatta's party together with other Maa leaders would have left the community divided.

New law allowing polygamy passed

  In Summary
The place of a woman in the family was weakened on Thursday when Parliament passed a law opening the floodgates of polygamy.
Men will be free to marry as many women as they please, and they will not have to consult their wives before doing it.
In amendments that appeared more designed to serve the marital needs and assuage the financial fears of male MPs, the House watered down the Marriage Bill, which had given wives the right to be consulted before their husbands brought home a second wife.
But the Bill still has some good points: All marriages must be registered and the minimum age of marriage is set in law. This will protect children, especially girls, from early marriages.
On Thursday, male MPs, who are the majority, united in support of a proposal to delete a clause in the Marriage Bill requiring consultation before another wife is married.
Women MPs stormed out of the House in disgust, condemning the amendment as unfair to women.

It is four years since the death of Jimmy Mubenga, but we still cannot be sure deportees are being treated decently

A new report raises specific concerns over the “disproportionate use of force and restraint”, as well as “unprofessional behaviour”

The death of Jimmy Mubenga is and will remain a stain on Britain’s reputation as a civilised country. What is still worse is that the lessons of the despicable affair do not appear to have been consistently learned. The 46-year-old died in 2010 while waiting on a plane at Heathrow airport to be deported back to Angola; and the details that emerged at the inquest, which concluded last summer, are as harrowing as they are shameful. Mr Mubenga was heavily restrained for more than half an hour while waiting for the flight to take off. Although his three G4S guards subsequently claimed not to have heard him shouting that he could not breathe and was doing to die, several other passengers reportedly did, and after four days of deliberations, the jury returned a nine-to-one majority verdict of unlawful killing.

It should not, of course, have taken a person’s death to establish the mistreatment of those being deported from Britain as wholly and unequivocally unacceptable. With the dark underbelly of one of the more troublesome areas of law enforcement so starkly revealed, however, it might have been reasonable to expect a thorough overhaul of relevant training and procedures, to ensure the racism, violence and gross unprofessionalism revealed at the Mubenga inquest was thoroughly stamped out.

And yet it would seem not. According to the most recent research into treatment of detainees published by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, while the majority of escort procedures appear “well organised”, with detainees dealt with “sensitively and effectively”, there are notable exceptions. Indeed, the report – which covers the treatment of deportees for the first time, directly as a result of Mr Mubenga’s death – raises specific concerns over the “disproportionate use of force and restraint”, as well as “unprofessional behaviour” such as the use of offensive language. All of which adds up to a picture of activities that are still far from the standards of safety, decency and disinterestedness to be expected from those acting on behalf of the British state.

There are a number of suggested remedies. Not only should the UK Border Agency ensure that all escort staff are suitably trained, particularly in the appropriate use of force, ad hoc techniques should also be subject to “rigorous management scrutiny” and the detainee should be the centre of staff attention throughout. That such apparently obvious recommendations are needed at all can only be a cause for concern. Moreover, with one life already lost to excessive restraint, it is difficult to credit that there are still “no recognised safe procedures” for subduing the unruly while on an aircraft. Such lack of clarity is simply unacceptable.

By its very nature, deportation is one of the more inhumane activities in which the state must engage. It is therefore incumbent upon us both rigorously to establish appropriate procedures and equally rigorously to monitor their use. The death of Jimmy Mubenga cannot be undone. At best, all possible attention must be paid to ensuring that such barbarity is not repeated. Sad to say, we cannot yet be confident it is. 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Veteran Pilot Explains His Theory On Flight MH370, And It Makes PerfectSense.

March 19, 2014, Chris Goodfellow believes the pilot of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 was taking a direct route to Palau Langkawi airport, pictured, after an in-flight emergency. (Google Earth)
A lot of speculation about MH370. Terrorism, hijack, meteors. I cannot believe the analysis on CNN – almost disturbing. I tend to look for a more simple explanation of this event.
Loaded 777 departs midnight from Kuala to Beijing. Hot night. Heavy aircraft. About an hour out across the gulf towards Vietnam the plane goes dark meaning the transponder goes off and secondary radar tracking goes off.
Two days later we hear of reports that Malaysian military radar (which is a primary radar meaning the plane is being tracked by reflection rather than by transponder interrogation response) has tracked the plane on a southwesterly course back across the Malay Peninsula into the straits of Malacca.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

white mans supremacy and greed. The British apartheid system in kenya, calling “Mau Mau” “ terrorists” after they stood up for their grabed land.

The following is the full text of a letter written by David Larder, who served in Britain’s colonial army in Kenya, to the Guardian newspaper last year, following the court settlement which saw the UK government pay out £2,670 to each of the 5,228 elderly Kenyans judged eligible for compensation for atrocities committed in the 1950s. The UK government still refuses to apologise for what it did in Kenya. That’s one reason David Larder’s letter is worth reading.
I doubt if all the secrets of the Kikuyu uprising will ever be known. Young soldiers were brainwashed into believing they were fighting in Kenya for our glorious empire. Sixty years ago I was there as a 19-year-old national service officer. I am delighted that the government has given some token compensation for Kenyans who suffered torture (Britain’s brutal past exposed, 6 June). I still suffer from memories of the British apartheid system there and numerous instances of arbitrary killing and brutality by British forces, Kenya police and Kenyan African Rifles. In reality we protected land-grabbing British farmers and enriched UK companies.
Young troops were encouraged to shoot any African on sight in certain areas. Prize money was offered by senior officers for every death. The brains of one young black lad I shot with no warning (by orders) landed on my chest. He had no weapons, only a piece of the Bible and part of an English-language primer in his pocket. Before I burned his body near the farm where he had been working, I was ordered to cut off his hands, which I did, and put them in my ammunition pouches, as we’d run out of fingerprinting kits. Of course, he was recorded as “a terrorist”. I was told to shoot down unarmed women in the jungle because they were carrying food to the so-called “Mau Mau” – a word they never called themselves.
The whole of this Kenyan tragedy was predictable. Although Kenyan black troops had fought for the British in the second world war, they were rewarded with their land being taken away, no press or trade union freedom, suppression of political movements and slave-like conditions of work, which I witnessed. Yes, some black Kenyans did turn on others for not rising up against such indignities. But many of those who were killed were local chiefs and their supporters, who had co-operated with hugely rich white farmers. However, the revenge killings by the colonial authorities were totally disproportionate – with bombing raids, burning of villages and the forced movement of thousands of families onto poorer land, in the name of “protection”. Very few white people were killed by Africans.
But it wasn’t just the black people who suffered. I remember telling my company commander that a young soldier whose medical records showed he was only fit for clerical work should not go on a military exercise. I was laughed at. He was forced to go. After three hours’ steep climb through jungle, he died in my arms, probably from a heart attack. Because I remonstrated, I was ordered to take a donkey and carry his body, which kept slipping off, for nearly a week to deposit him at HQ on the other side of the Aberdare mountains. His mother was told he was a hero who’d died on active service.
I was sickened by my experiences. I disobeyed orders and was court-martialled and dismissed from the service. I actually thought I was going to be shot. Stripped of my uniform, I was told to make my own way home. Then I wrote to Bessie Braddock, the Labour MP, and was put back in my uniform to fly home in a RAF plane. After campaigning around the country for Kenyan independence, I received new call-up papers, because I had not finished my national service. I then decided to stand trial and become the first British man allowed to be registered as a conscientious objector against colonial warfare. History has proved me right. With these expressions of “regret” by our foreign secretary, I now feel vindicated for being pilloried as a “conchie”.

Nairobi’s Largest Church, Winner’s Chapel, Set To Be Demolished


Barely a year after Deputy President William Ruto officially opened East Africa’s largest church auditorium,Winner’s Chapel, it stands to be demolished according to Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Mr Felix Kosgey.
Residents of a multi- billion shilling estate and the magnificent church are living in fear after the CS warned that they could be evicted because the land on which the houses were built was grabbed.
“According to the Ndung’u report, all the allocation of the 210 acre is illegal and should be reverted to the government,” said Mr. Kosgey.
The government is set to issue a 21 day notice to the owners of houses in Diamond Park Estate and the Winner’s Chapel in Nairobi’s South B.
The church, which has it’s roots in Nigeria, has a capacity of 15,000 people. Sitting on 15 acres of land, the church was founded by Nigerian billionaire pastor, Dr David Oyepedo. It has a presence in several other countries.
It remains to be seen whether the government will make good their threat.

A castle built on love

A castle built on love

By Thorn Mulli


Kenya: In 1898, the dashing British adventurer, Ewart ‘The Leopard’ Grogan was headover- heels in love — but he needed the approval of his beloved’s sceptical, aristocratic stepfather.

To prove his worth, the 24-year-old Cambridge dropout set out on an epic quest to become the first person to walk the length of Africa, “a feat hitherto thought by many explorers to be impossible” (New York Times).

One cannot study Kenya’s colonial history and fail to encounter Colonel Ewart Scott Grogan’s indelible legacy. Regarded by the settler community as ‘Kenya’s Churchill’ for his ingenuity, and nicknamed ‘Bwana Chui’ by the Kikuyu for his ruthlessness, the colonel was both loved and loathed in equal measure.

Grogan had a dark side. A proponent of the introduction of apartheid in Kenya, heat one time stood trial for the death of two Africans, whom he had allegedly flogged to death in full view of a magistrate and a police superintendent.

But, his errs aside, Grogan had a lot of feathers in his hat. His main claim to fame was the incredible trek from Cape Town to Cairo, which he undertook to impress the family of a Miss Gertrude Coleman-Watt, with whom he had fallen in love.

Gertrude was the sister of a Cambridge classmate, and her stepfather disapproved of the match.

After two and a half years of flirting with dangerous tribes and animals, tropical diseases and low supplies, Grogan reached Cairo aged 26. He returned home a popular sensation, penning a bestseller

From the Cape to Cairo; the first traverse of Africa from south to north (1902). His exploits led to his being made a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, and to cap his success, he got the girl of his dreams.

They were married and had four children, leaving London to settle in South Africa.

In 1904, Grogan returned to Kenya. His first home was a tent, after which he put up Grogan Palace and Grogan Lodge on the site that is now the Chiromo complex.

He named the area ‘Chiromo’, Malawian for ‘joining of streams,’ as the two joining rivers reminded him of a Malawian village where he lost his luggage during his trek.

He sold the property to American millionaire Lord Northrop McMillan, the man after whom Nairobi’s McMillan Library is named. The palace was later moved from Riverside Drive to the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden as the Grogan/MacMillan Manor House.

Grogan always thought big, and thanks to an immense fortune, he was able to accomplish many of his grandiose ideas. He was one of the settlers with the most land; at least half a million acres that included Grogan, now Kirinyaga, Road.

He founded the Kenyan timber industry, played a part in building Kenya’s first deepwater port at Mombasa, built Torr’s Hotel in Nairobi, and stocked Kenya’s rivers with imported trout, among other firsts.

He was not short of romantic gestures either. When Gertrude passed on in 1943 after a short stint as president of East Africa Women’s League, he donated his house and grounds in Muthaiga for the establishment of Gertrude’s Garden Children’s Hospital, in her honour.

One of his lesser-known gestures, however, is the castle he built for her; The Grogan Castle. This castle is about 20km southwest of Taveta town on the Kenya-Tanzania border, in the Lake Jipe Estate.

Taveta area is well documented for its historical position during the First World War between the English and the Germans. It is also in here where Grogan distinguished himself in both World Wars, fighting behind enemy lines.

Owning large tracts of sisal farmland in the area, it is rumoured that he influenced the bulge of the boundary line with Tanzania from Rombo to ensure all his land was accommodated on Kenyan side.

Grogan built the castle in the 1930s, and lived in it until the late 1950’s. Located atop a hill, the castle offers 360-degree views, including sights of Mt Kilimanjaro, Pare Mountains, Tsavo West National Park, and the nearby Lake Jipe.

The part monastery, part Moorish fort and part hacienda architecture with English- inspired decor was approached via a road that snaked its way up the hill. Visitors were deposited at the foot of broad steps leading to an arch in which wroughtiron entrance gates were later set.

Beyond the gates was a central courtyard with a fountain and flowerbeds. It boasted five large en suite bedrooms with a similarly spacious guest cottage.

Sadly, Grogan died on August 16, 1967, in a small fl at in Rondebosch, South Africa despite his wish to spend his last days at the Castle.

Today, Grogan’s Castle is a boutique hotel owned by former area legislator Basil Criticos, who undertook renovations, keeping to the original theme and fittings, before opening it to the public in 2008. It is accessible by both air and road from the capital.

Kenyan Diaspora Holding Foreign Passports Exempt from Applying for Kenyan Visas


The Kenyan Embassy in Berlin has finally issued an official statement on the exemption of Kenyans holding foreign passports from applying for visas when visiting Kenya.

Below is the statement issued by the Kenyan Embassy in Berlin on 13th September 2013:

The Constitution confers automatic recognition of Kenyans holding citizenship of other countries as being citizens of Kenya by birth so long as they are able to prove parentage by providing authentic Kenya Government documents.

Hence, such persons are exempted from the visa requirements, irrespective of the passports held.

In this regard, the Kenya Embassy wishes to advice the Kenyan Diaspora in Germany who fall in this category and have the necessary documents of proof not to transfer any monies to the Kenya Embassy account for purposes of visa processing.

Dennis Itumbi Explains His Role as Director of Diaspora Affairs in the E.O.P

Dennis Itumbi

Dennis Itumbi, the Director Digital, New Media & Diaspora in the Executive Office of the President was last night on #theTrend with Larry Madowo together with some Kenyans from the diaspora. The Diasporans got a chance to pose questions to Dennis Itumbi about his job description, his boss and his plans with the diaspora. 

You can watch the full video below or read the transcript. The whole interview left me with more questions than answers regarding Dennis’ agenda in his position. Another issue I had was the fact that he went ahead to perpetuate the usual stereotype of assuming, “diaspora” means the USA.

How else would you explain him being asked about where the diaspora can get updates and more information about the implementation of his plans for the diaspora office, only for him to simply brush it off with “we’ll have a conversation on your platform (Radio Boston)”? In several other questions, instead of answering he brushed them off promising to discuss those issues at the Diaspora event in Washington/Virginia (he had a different venue as Susan) in the US.

So what happens to all other diasporans who do not listen to Radio Boston or aren’t in a position to listen in due to time difference nor won’t be at the event in the US? Does it mean they don’t need answers to these questions? I’m afraid I’m not convinced on Mr. Itumbi’s job description, his plan for the diaspora nor his understanding of what is affecting the diaspora.

Most of his answers sounded rehearsed and his plan was NOT FOR the diaspora but FOR the government.

1. The one stop shop websites and Huduma Kenya e.t.c are basically of more importance to the 40million in Kenya than the 3million in the diaspora. How many times do diasporans apply for birth certificates, business registration etc? Most of us either wait until our next trip home, use the embassies or ask relatives to do it. (He did mention in one comment that he was also sorting issues between the Embassies and the Diasporans in some countries, does that mean he’ll be a mediator for the Diaspora).

2. Having a skills inventory, how do you plan to do that when Kenyans in the diaspora have failed to give this information freely to the embassies through registration? (I think this goes together with the question asked on the show, How does Dennis plan to solve problems in 4years that Embassies have been unable to solve for close to 50years?)

3. Diaspora Councils, why reinvent the wheel? Most diasporans have already started their own organisations, why not use existing infrastructure instead of starting from scratch  then confuse everyone?

The interview didn’t help me understand his job description, I can hazard to say that even he doesn’t understand his role as the “Director of Diaspora”. He does understand a lot about digital & news media which I also noticed he was more comfortable answering questions about, than the Diaspora.

I hope he can use digital & news media to engage the Diaspora who would be willing to share what they would like him to handle in his office pertaining to this topic. It might be challenging but I’m sure it will chart a better way forward than having a team in Kenya that has never lived in the Diaspora planning what they should do for the Diaspora without asking the Diaspora itself.

Susan of Boston Radio: What is your actual job description as far as the Diaspora is concerned?

There are consulars and a diaspora unit under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which handle the diasporans. For our department, the President needed direct contact with the diaspora, so we began by going to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to understand their policy regarding the diaspora.

1. What do we want to achieve?

Challenge, how many Kenyans are in the diaspora?

2. Skill inventory. Know who is out there and what can they do?

3. Build trust. Create diaspora councils. Currently charting how to subdivide the different diasporan groups.

4. Mobilize them for government, investment and creative hub

5. Effective engagement of the diaspora

Paul in South Africa: How can the government tap diaspora skills?

Peter Kerre: A Page for Dennis to interact directly with the Diaspora?

Mobile app that connects you directly to the government services.

Fully fledged website and search engine to connect you directly to who is working on it. Online ticketing service that allows you to track progress.

Peter: Will Dennis fight for the right for the Diaspora  to vote?

The constitution gives that provision, but Dennis will be working on it.

Elijah Magutu: Why is Dennis there when the government is already working with the Embassies. How is Dennis able to do what the embassies have been unable to do?

Dennis will work together with the diaspora desk and the Embassies. Dennis’ office will be solving some of the issues the diaspora have with the embassies.

To whom does Dennis report?

Dennis was appointed by the President and reports to the president. He is employed by the public service commission.

Paul: Instead of focusing on bringing the diaspora back home, why not provide a channel of communication to tap into their ideas from where they are. On getting permits, people will always do it illegally

Considering you know more about education than I do. I would connect to top officials in the Education Ministry.

Susan: Dennis said he is still in the planning stage, when does the implementation begin? Where do people get updates. All this should have been a long time ago.

Dennis will plan a show with Susan on Radio Boston, until then you can send in your enquiries to diaspora@president.go.ke

Peter: How prepared in the government on cyber security? I sent you information on government websites that were compromised, how was that information channeled? How do you ensure this is looked into?

Previous governments didn’t invest much in cyber security but we will be doing more on that. We plan a modern data center and will be looking for people who can do that. That is where the skill inventory comes in but there are also people who do cyber security as a business we’ll foot the tender and all are welcome to tender.

Paul: The diaspora might not be interested in tendering, just to engage us share ideas on policies. We need to understand the progress and process when we chip in ideas.

Those are good ideas and I take them on board, you will see results in a few

Social Media Feedback: Dennis isn’t engaged enough

The diaspora unit it still being staffed.

What Has Dennis achieved so far in his position? Most say he only opens twitter accounts

We have a preliminary roadmap on what we want to achieve, We’re creating a one-stop government website.

We’ve set up departments (structures and preliminary roadmap), we’ve finished the first website modernised State House processes, developed social media presence.